March 21, 2009

Griffin belts grand slam in Game 2 of split

By Chris Whitaker, The Americus Times-Recorder

GREENWOOD, S.C. - It was looking real ugly for Georgia Southwestern Saturday afternoon.

The Lady Hurricanes were just shut out for the 12th time this season by Lander 11-0 and didn't have a hit for the second time this season.

But Nichole Griffin's grand slam in the seventh helped the Lady Hurricanes take a split with Lady Bearcats as GSW topped Lander 6-1 in Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader.

"It was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," said coach Eddie Ward. "Our total plan going up here, I've told them all along, we need to try to split when we go on the road. Evidently, the first game we didn't even show up.

"But it was straight pitching. Lander did not hit (Jessica) Martin like they hit us the first ball game. Our pitching seemed to be hitting better spots, and Lander didn't appear to me like a team that had won one conference game."

Ashley Harris broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh inning of Game 2 by leading off the frame with a solo home run. Two singles and a hit batter loaded the bases, bringing Griffin to the plate. Then with a 2-2 count, she belted a shot that Ward said went at least 260 feet.

"It was a bomb the minute it left the bat, there was no doubt," he said. "She fouled off about three pitches prior to that. That was her best at-bat I've seen her have all season."

Griffin drove in five runs, including the one in the third on a groundout. She was also part of a 1-6-3 double play in the bottom of the seventh.

"Without her grand slam and defensive gem, we'd be in another jam," said Ward. "We've been waiting for her to explode at the plate, and she's been a great pick-up for us."

After GSW (10-27, 3-9) took the lead, Lander (13-19, 2-8) answered in the bottom half when pinch-runner Pamela Stephenson scored on an error.

Griffin, Harris and Shea Weaver all had two hits for the Lady Hurricanes, and they had nine as a team.

Lander had six hits, led by Lindsey Sammons' two. The Lady Bearcats stranded six.

Jessica Martin pitched a complete game, allowing one run while striking out six and walking four.

Hayley Leissner (9-13) took the loss, pitching the final five innings, allowing five runs on five hits with five strikeouts and no walks.

In Game 1, Lander scored two runs in the first, seven in the second and two more in the fourth in a five-inning game. Shelly Grimsley led three players with two RBI going 2-for-3 in the game.

Leissner got the win, pitching the entire five innings while Brittany Milstid (3-6) suffered the loss.

GSW split a doubleheader with Emmanuel on Friday, losing 6-2 and winning 5-3.

The Lady Hurricanes travel to Brewton Parker on Friday and Armstrong Atlantic on Saturday.

 

PICTURED: Nichole Griffin

PHOTO BY: Chris Fenn

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